We understand the frustration you experience when you have a problem with your website or when you want something changed, but we “just don’t get it right”. We all want support issues resolved faster and changes accomplished more efficiently! So how do you go about getting faster and better support?
First, we need to have a clear understanding of the problem or request so that we can help. Vague or incomplete requests require extra time to investigate or require additional information before we can even get started.
This is a guide on how to submit support requests so that they can be resolved quickly with a limited number of back and forth emails.
There are three keys to a great support request:
- A meaningful subject line that summarizes the request
- Clear details in the request
- Screenshots or specific examples included
Meaningful Subject Line that Summarizes the Request
A meaningful subject line immediately helps us because everyone looking at your request knows at a glance what type of issue it is so that it is properly prioritized by the appropriate people. It also saves us time when going back to the ticket because we can identify it quickly. It may not seem like much, but with the amount of web support we do, these extra moments do add up!
Tips for a meaningful subject line:
- Avoid generic subject lines such as “Need help!”
- Include the word “Urgent” if the request is really urgent
- Identify if the request is a problem, change request, question, or notification
These subject lines need improvement:
Need help, please!
We get many requests every day so such a generic subject makes it hard to quickly discern who should handle it and makes it harder to find when we need to find it again.
There are no details provided, but we know that there is a problem.
Fwd: Paypal Alert
At first glance, we don’t know if this is a problem, a question or a notification.
[Our Organization] Website
We know which organization you are from and which website is yours so making that your subject line doesn’t give us any additional information.
Here are examples of great subject lines:
Not working since yesterday: Captcha on Wholesale Form
Although it doesn’t say urgent, we know it’s high priority since an important form on the website is not working correctly.
Unable to upload images over 2000 pixels wide in the media library
Again, this doesn’t say urgent but it’s clear this is an issue that is preventing certain updates to the website and needs to be addressed quickly.
Update Trainers page with new employee information by Friday
This is clearly a change request to a specific page that needs to be completed by the end of the week. It’s important but nothing is on fire here.
Add event info and Send Newsletter next Tuesday to General Email list
It’s clear that information needs to be added to the website and an email drafted and approved before the send date.
Question about updating slider on home page
This is clearly a question about how to do something and the user just needs an explanation.
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Clear Details in the Request
The more details you can provide in the support request, the more quickly it can be resolved. The difference between a poor support request and the great one is in the details.
The support team will not be able to work on your request until they have everything they need to and they are confident of exactly what you want, so try to provide the important details upfront and be as clear as possible.
Try to use short sentences and bullet points to communicate clearly and receive faster support.
If you are reporting a problem, the first thing the support person will do is try to reproduce the issue themselves. Try to provide clear steps for how you encountered the error. Here are some tips:
- What is the URL of the page with the problem?
- What steps need to be taken to reproduce the problem?
- When did you first notice the problem?
- Has anything changed on the website recently?
- Can the issue be replicated on other browsers or devices?
- What browser and operating system are you using? You can check here: https://www.whatismybrowser.com/
- Do you see any specific error messages?
This is a vague problem description:
One of our customers is unable to place an order.
A lot of key information is missing: where did they get stuck, what information were they entering, what browser and device were they using, did it show an error message, does this happen on all products and does it happen every time? Here is a more detailed problem description:
A customer is unable to place an order when they add this specific address (insert address here) into the shipping field because it does not generate a shipping estimate. This a applies to all products. They are using Google Chrome 58.0.3029.110 on Windows 10.1 and have not tried any other browsers. No error message is displayed, it just spins when generating the shipping cost. See attached screenshot.
This detailed description has a high likelihood of being resolved without back and forth emails.
If you are requesting an email newsletter to be sent be sure to include the following information:
- Subject line
- Email Text
- Any photos that should be included
- Link to which page(s)
- Which list(s) it should go to
- When to schedule it to be sent out
- Email addresses of who needs to review the email draft
Screenshots of the Request Attached
Including screenshots of your issue remove the guesswork from what you are talking about. If there’s an error on your website, take a screenshot of it. If there is a broken link on a specific web page, include a screenshot of the exact link that is broken.
If you’re not sure how to take a screenshot, try these instructions:
On a Mac, press Command-Shift-4, a crosshair will appear, click and drag the area you want to select. When you let go of the mouse or trackpad it will save the screenshot as a .png file on your desktop.
On Windows, press Alt-Print Screen. That should save your image to the clipboard. You should be able paste the screenshot into your email by using the Paste command or by pressing Control-V.
You can also use programs such as:
- Skitch by Evernote (free, allows arrows and notes to be placed on top of screenshot)
- Cloudup (free, cloud based)
Sometimes sending a video recording is more helpful so you can describe what is happening while you’re doing it.
- Screenmailer (fast and easy, includes one hour of video hosting)
- Jing (another option for video recording)
If you’re unable to include a screenshot, include the exact text of the error message.
Additional Tips for Faster Support
- One task per email
- Reply to existing support request with updates or additional information, don’t send a new email. This keeps the conversation together.
- Always use the support email address instead of one of the company contacts.
- Don’t follow up one request with a request about something totally different.
- For non-urgent requests, wait 24 hours before following up.
Templates You Can Use for Faster Support
To help you get started, here are some email templates you can use when you are writing your next support request.
Example: Website Problem
Subject: Not working since yesterday: Captcha on Wholesale Form
The wholesale form is showing an error in the captcha field and prevents the form from being submitted.
Steps to replicate:
Go to ourdomain.com/wholesale
Scroll to the bottom of the page
And you’ll see this error message: Captcha ERROR for site owner: Stoken expired.
Recent website changes: None that I am aware of.
Thanks, Mr. Customer
Example: Website Change Request
Subject: Update Trainers page with new employee information by Friday
Please add the following 3 trainers information to the page ourdomain.com/trainers
They should appear after the existing trainers on the page in the order that they are in the attached Word document. Please match the styling of the existing trainers. Their photos are also attached and named accordingly.
Thanks, Mr. Customer
Example: Website Feature Request
Subject: Add a photo gallery to the bottom of our services page
On our services page (ourdomain.com/services) we would like to have a photo gallery added like the one I saw on this page: coolwebsite.com/gallery
Our budget for this project is $250.
Our timeframe for delivery is within the next 2 weeks.
Thanks, Mr. Customer
Requesting support doesn’t need to take long time or a lot of back and forth emails. Following the best practices will go a long way to getting your request solved quickly. What are the things you’ve done to get faster support from a Support team? Share your tips in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you!
This faster support article is based on an article written by Simon Kelly at Renegade Empire, How to Request Support That Gets Solved Faster.
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